Your NameAnu Veijalainen
TRP Cohort AssignmentEurope Summer-Fall 2023, Cohort 1
Study Cohort Members

Alessandro Battista, Sangita Kapoor, Guadalupe de la Mata, Marjolein Nagel, Anu Veijalainen

Working Title of The Project (which we will use to refer to it throughout the series)

Enlivening Archipelago

Project Location

Brännskär island in the Archipelago Sea area, SW Finland:

Brännskär is a small island (ca. 500 m*1000 m long E-W and N-S, respectively) in the archipelago of south-western Finland. It is located in the Archipelago Sea Area that belongs to Unesco’s network of biosphere reserves recognised for its unique natural and cultural characteristics. Unesco describes such biosphere areas as something that, e.g., foster the harmonious integration of people and nature for sustainable development through participatory dialogue, knowledge sharing, and human well-being improvements, respect for cultural values, and society’s ability to cope with change.

Southwest Finland has a wide and idyllic archipelago, which covers 10,000 km2 of water and includes over 22,000 islands. There are large and fertile islands in the inner archipelago closer to the mainland, while in the outer archipelago the islands are more scattered, very small and barren. Grazing is important for maintaining the terrestrial ecology of the islands. The aquatic ecology of the Archipelago Sea and the Baltic Sea in general is unique yet fragile, threatened especially by eutrophication resulting largely from agricultural practices. The population on all the islands is about 18,000, but the number is greatly increased in the summer months by temporary residents from the mainland who stay at their own ‘summer cottages’ or visit the archipelago temporarily by boats, etc. Traditional livelihoods in the archipelago region include fishing and agriculture, while today tourism is also an important source of income for many.
Brännskär can be accessed only by sea; the distance to an access point to the road network leading to the mainland is 5 km (Kirjainen), to the largest village of the region is 20 km (Nauvo; 1,500 inhabitants), and to the largest town of the region is 70 km (Turku; 200,000 inhabitants). There is a ferry service connecting the island to the road network and some other islands in the region a few times a day; in the winter when the demand is low and the sea is often frozen preventing the use of most private vessels, the ferry will stop only if a prior booking has been made. The archipelago is mainly Swedish-speaking while the SW coast of the mainland is mostly Finnish-speaking.

Nature of The Project (e.g. building, new community, economic development, etc.)

New community, tourism:

The Turunmaa Archipelago Foundation acquired Brännskär in 2011 with the goal of ‘enlivening’ the archipelago region using sustainable solutions. The purpose of the acquisition was to ensure year-round living and activities in the region, and to prevent socially and culturally important archipelago facilities from becoming used only for leisure. In 2011, Lennart Söderlund, himself raised in the archipelago region, became the tenant of the Brännskär farm. Lennart is a boat builder by training and has been able to run his craftsman business while living on the farm. In addition, together with his brother Linus and friend Simon, they have since renovated buildings and facilities on the island, opened a guest boat harbour for travellers, and developed tourism activities (cultural events, cafeteria, accommodation, etc.) on the island itself and using it as a base for longer-distance tours. Currently, both Lennart and his friend live on the island with their families year-round.

Why do you think this project is appropriate for the course assignment?

Brännskär in the Archipelago Sea region meets the course work criteria as:

- Anu is from and currently lives in the largest town closest to the region (Turku) and she knows the tenants running the activities on the island, so one person of the team is familiar with the socio-ecological context and able to interview those involved in the project;

- the community building and tourism activities on the island have been developed for over 10 years already and are up and running, so the project can be regarded as completed (while the nature of the activities, e.g., tourism, require the staff to continuously think of ways of inventing new events etc.);

- both the region (a Unesco biosphere reserve) as well as the foundation owning the island share a mission for advancing sustainable development, so the project was initially started with an aspiration for sustainability;

- the project was started with the intention of bringing the guest harbour and related activities into being, with the purpose of enlivening the region, so it was not just about solving a problem;

- some of the members running the island have expressed their interest towards being interviewed and learning more about regeneration, so they would be committed to sharing the thinking that went into it and what our team could learn from the process.

Additional Useful Information

Superficially the project resembles a regenerative project (e.g., purpose to enliven the region; people have a strong connection with the place, etc.), however, those involved have not been aware of the regenerative approach. Therefore, this will be a good exercise for revealing the depth and extent of regenerative thinking and practice.

Relevant websites:
- Brännskär:
- Island tourism:
- Archipelago Sea Area biosphere reserve:

Date CreatedSeptember 25, 2023